So it’s New Year’s Eve. Well, technically it’s several hours into New Year’s Day, and you’re feeling fantastic because your husband, who mixed your G&Ts all evening, is a very generous man. So when someone says, “Hey, let’s go to a nori bang,” you reply, “Hey, that’s a great idea!”It’s cold outside—really cold, the sidewalks carpeted in ice. You slide delicately along for a block or two, until your friends find the right doorway on the darkened main street. They lead you down an unreasonable number of stairs, way more stairs than you want to see right now, and then enter into negotiations with the politely blank-faced woman behind the front desk. She leads the five of you down a darkish hallway to your private room.
You’ve never been to a nori bang before, though of course you’ve heard stories. This is Korea. Karaoke goes with drinking the way dried squid goes with peanuts. You’re relieved to discover it’s not like Karaoke Night in Wisconsin, where unfortunate singers regale an unfortunate barroom on an unfortunately public stage. Instead, you get a cozy little room where you can wail your way through the best hits of the Bee Gees without witnesses. There are two hefty binders full of songs, two microphones, and two tambourines for those with the inclination and the motor skills.
Next thing you know, you’re all bellowing, “Ma-ma-ma-marry the night!” with conviction in the general vicinity of the microphones. Then someone keys in Flashdance.
As the songs spin by, the microphone somehow ends up in your hands. But you don’t know the tune so your husband pulls it away to do the job properly. “I am titaaaaaneeeeum!” he sings as one of your friends dumps a binder on your lap.
“Choose a song!” she demands. “We have to sing one together!” You page through haphazardly, so carried away that you seriously consider wowing them with your Adele.
“Nori bangs are awesome!” Your husband props himself against you to confide in a bellow. “You’re totally going to write a blog post about this, aren’t you?”
Now that’s a great idea. You abandon the binder to pull up the memo pad on your phone and type in a series of insightful remarks about the function of social music in traditional Korean Confucianism. “Come on!” your friend shoves a mic in your face. “You’re singing with me!”
But seemingly within moments of your stunning rendition of LeAnn Rimes’ immortal classic “Can’t Fight the Moonlight,” the hour is up. You all traipse hazily back up the stairs, and stand on the corner flapping your arms at the sparse traffic in hopes of flagging a taxi. One finally pulls up and you bid your friends adieu with sincere profusions of good wishes for the year ahead.
You beat the sunrise home and sleep the sleep of the just. Many hours and two pots of coffee later, you decide it’s time to write that great blog post. You boot up the computer and pull out your phone to consult your notes:
awrdome. TAMBORINES!!!!! Rivate room wteatj eallpaper
Oh well. At least you’re a fabulous singer.
Happy New Year! Hope it was a blast!